Struggling alone
"Parents assume that everyone else has this whole parenting thing figured out, and they are the only ones who are struggling. Baby Calm and Toddler Calm classes and workshops are often most helpful because they allow participants to listen to all the other parents who are struggling in the exact same ways. We normalise infant and toddler behaviour and parental trial and error to try to figure out how to cope with it all. Even the 'best' parents are stumbling through each new stage with each new child, experimenting (and making mistakes) in an effort to find a way to manage this most awesome task of raising human beings." - Amy Vogelaar

Using punishments or rewards
"It's a huge relief for many parents when they realise that they don't need to use rewards or punishment to set boundaries - both of these strategies require a lot of time and energy and cause a huge disconnection between us and our children, which actually makes it harder to teach them. I help parents to understand where their boundaries come from, how to choose their own boundaries for their family and how these can be applied consistently, using connection and logic, in an age-appropriate way so that children develop the skills to set their own personal boundaries as adults." - Joanne Jewell  

A common mistake: Trying to be friends

Trying to be friends
"They want to be friends with their children instead of being in charge - someone needs to be the captain of the ship and that should preferably be someone with wisdom (the parents). I teach them to first build a foundation of respect and first-time obedience, then it sets the stage for freedom of choices, then children can be trusted to make more decisions, then they mature, build character - and leave home and THEN they can be their friends. You are not there to make your children happy, you are there to build their character through rules and relationship." - Andalene Salvesen

Using logic not emotion
"Using logic instead of emotion to connect to their child; I teach parents how to connect emotionally and then teach with logic - it's so much easier for everyone!" - Joanne Jewell

 Making excuses for bad behaviour
"They don't realise what their children are capable of and how happy they can be when they are expected to respect authority by suffering the consequences of their choices. I raise their level of expectation (age appropriately) because most parents make excuses for their child's misbehaviour and don't really know what they can expect at the different ages or what age-appropriate consequences look like." - Andalene Salvesen

A common mistake: Superwoman syndrome

Superwoman syndrome
"The biggest mistake that parents, and especially mothers, make is thinking that they can give and give and give to their kids without ever taking care of themselves. If you feel too guilty to take any time away from your kids so you can go to the gym or read a book or have a chat with a friend (or take a nap), then you will find that you won't be a very patient, or compassionate or empathetic parent. Many mothers in Dubai tell me that they think they should be able to 'do it all' themselves and never ask for help or take a break. This is a very modern concept of parenting - our ancestors would never have raised kids alone without a tribe of people around to lend a hand. It's not actually possible to do it all yourself, and if you try you will definitely fail both yourself and your children. Asking for help from partners or others, taking a break whenever you can, and balancing your own needs with those of your children is one of the main messages that Baby Calm and Toddler Calm teach." - Amy Vogelaar 

"Many parents resort to shouting/anger/threatening/ignoring/bribing etc. to discipline. I teach them to use First Time Obedience [which involves immediate consequences like a time-out for misbehaving] because no one shouts the first time. If you allow your child to misbehave first time, second time, etc. until you shout then you have created the pattern - you have what you have allowed!" - Andalene Salvesen

A common mistake: Trying to train kids

Trying to train children
"Parents are led to believe by many that they can control or train their little ones to behave a certain way. Babies and toddlers are not little dogs to be conditioned to be obedient. They are complex human beings with their own personalities, likes, dislikes, needs and characters. In many ways they come how they come and we need to figure out how best to nurture the people who they are. For example, some babies go to sleep very happily and easily while other babies fight sleep every chance they get. One toddler throws a tantrum three times a day while the toddler next door has never thrown a tantrum in her life. This is not generally a result of anything the parents did, but just the person who the universe sent to them, and often you can already see traits that those children will continue to demonstrate right through adulthood. We spend a lot of time in Baby Calm and Toddler Calm pointing out the individuality of each little person, as well as the similar themes that all the parents are coping with at that stage." - Amy Vogelaar

Unrealistic expectations
"Having unrealistic expectations of their children - for example the age that a child is able to understand logical consequences, able to self-soothe, able to manage their emotions. One of the five sessions on our workshops is all about child development, the brain and learning skills to teach children in an appropriate way, such as scaffolding. Parents feel so relieved when they realise that there is nothing wrong with them or their child - they just aren't ready to share their toys yet, but they will be and they now know how to teach this skill!" - Joanne Jewell

Our experts:

Joanne Jewell
Founder of Mindful Parenting, Joanne runs regular workshops -

Amy Vogelaar
Baby Calm and Toddler Calm teacher Amy runs regular courses and classes -

Andalene Salvesen
Better known as Super Granny, Andalene regularly visits the UAE from South Africa -

Photos by Istock

Read: Do mums value the role of dads enough?